September 30, 2008

go2pets... sweet service


Purina is offering a new, FREE service to dog owners these days - go2Pets. The service allows you to access all kinds of handy dog-related info on your cell. And if you're as addicted to your phone as I am to my Blackberry, this deal will make you and your dog very happy.

Once you've signed up online with Purina's go2Pets, you simply enter your current zip code and you'll find the location of off-leash parks, pet friendly accommodations, camping, airlines, fun places, kennels, and vets... all using your cell phone (keep in mind your phone must have internet capability).

You can also visit Purina Mobile and download wallpapers, ringtones and more for your phone.

quincy... still looking for a forever home



September 29, 2008

i love calendars


I realize this might seem strange to most people, but I love calendars. There are so many fun and interesting ones out there, and this is the time of year when the new calendars are rolling out. Now, I'm not really referring to those big glossy wall calendars with pictures of puppies or kittens or half-naked women lying across the top of some muscle car. There are so many better options these days.

You can go to Etsy and simply search for "calendars" and you'll find an abundance of options. Or visit Kate's Paperie or Paper Source online to find some as well. I was doing just that earlier when this calendar from Modern Art Everyday caught my eye due to... what else? A dog.

So while this post isn't 100% dog-centric, I had to pass it along anyway because this calendar is fabulous! This 2009 edition is full of color, cool design and it's the perfect size to sit on your desk.

Check it out online at Modern Art Design along with tons of their other fantastic prints as well.

did you know...

Did you know that at one point during our country's history... pit bulls were considered the quintessential American breed? They even appeared on World War I patriotic posters... and now many places in this country have either already banned them or are trying to in the near future.

Just a reminder to everyone out there to speak up for these sweet guys, and remember... punish the deed, not the breed and help end breed discrimination.



September 26, 2008

welcome to the dawkins home

You can tell the weather is starting to get cooler around my house when the dogs start snuggling together. I didn't really think it was THAT cold, but as I walked into the den this morning, this is what I saw:

And the only minutes later... this:

September 25, 2008

martha stewart's dog coat


Mad props to my idol Martha Stewart for this idea... seriously, I totally heart her, y'all...

Ok, so on to the actual post. The ONLY dog I've every put in clothing is my smallest dog Mona Mae, and only because she's a girly-girl... and because she asked me to (what? why should she be deprived of an outlet for self-expression??).

Anyway, the only items of clothing I will allow her are 1) coats when it's cold, 2) sweaters... again only when it's cold, and 3) a Halloween costume (because she helps me answer the door!). And I also try to be very frugal and only purchase things that are on sale, or I make them myself.

The whole DIY option brings me to the point of this post... Martha's freakin' awesome pattern for a suede doggie coat. This project is easy enough for even the most non-crafty person. There's no need for a sewing machine... in fact, the only sewing you'll need to do is to attach the buttons.

You might have seen it a while back in Blueprint magazine, but in case you missed it, you can get the instructions right here on Martha's website. It's definitely worth checking it out.

September 24, 2008

smiling labrador

I realized the other day that I'm constantly referencing my dogs in one way or another on my blog, but I've yet to take time to really introduce each one to my readers. So I thought I'd go one by one, oldest to youngest, to let you know all about the fabulous canines with whom I share my home.

First up is my six year old Labrador Retriever Sullivan (aka Sully). He was my very first dog and my only non-rescue. Please indulge me while I list off his many attributes: sweet, handsome, smart, gentle, eager to please and food-loving... He's what I would call an "easy" dog. He is zero trouble, does exactly what I ask and is just happy to see me whenever I come home.

He has a serious love of all things edible (typical lab) and if you can throw it, he'll retrieve it. He is drawn to bodies of water as if they have some kind of magical power over him... he loves the beach, lake, pool, puddles, anything... a great swimmer.

He can be a little shy of strangers, but has gotten much, much better through the years. But if you come to my house, expect to be greeted by his big, booming bark until you're properly introduced and pleasantries have been exchanged (i.e. you've slipped him something tasty as a bribe). He is definitely NOT an alpha dog, and is content to let all the others in the household have their way. He is so incredibly stoic about putting up with all my rescue craziness, and he simply accepts this way of life with a tail wag and a smile.



September 23, 2008

buddy the surfing dog

Cool video. Cool dog.

babies + dogs = perfect


I blogged about Bella Blu Designs just a couple of weeks ago, but she has since unveiled a new line of baby shower invitations featuring adorable dog silhouettes.

I'm hereby encouraging all my good friends to hurry up and get knocked up so I can plan a baby shower and use these super cute invites! You can find them at her etsy store online.

September 22, 2008

the stand-off

The stand-off...

My Labrador Retriever, Sullivan, LOVES to fetch... and more specifically, ADORES tennis balls. It's almost like a compulsion - if there's one available, it's in his mouth. He just can't help himself. He will focus on nothing else except the ball.

Well, up until Quincy arrived, he was the only dog really interested in tennis balls and playing fetch. He had them all to himself.

But it turns out Quincy also has a certain affection for all things round and bouncy. Except his favorite game has become - "Let's go get the ball and then torture my dear friend Sully by running around and not giving it back."

I shot the videos below this weekend in the backyard... check them out below (sorry for the poor video quality and please ignore my lovely redneck accent)

video

video

September 21, 2008

yay!!

We did it! Mona Mae and I passed our Delta Society Pet Partner Test on the first try this morning! My little Miss Mona Mae (who's practically perfect in every way) was an absolute rock star. The only slight problem we had was when she tried to get a little flirty with a HUGE Great Dane during the test and I wasn't paying close enough attention. But we both got the situation under control, and the rest is history...

We're both so excited and can't wait to start visiting. All that's left to do is send off some paperwork, get our Delta Society Pet Partner IDs and we'll be off visiting in no time.

For more information on the program, please visit the Delta Society online.

September 19, 2008

yoghund


I'm always on the lookout for interesting, healthy and delicious treats for my dogs. The local Three Dog Bakeries around SC are awesome and they are my go-to place when I need treats for the pack.

But I stumbled upon this new (at least to me) treat just the other day... yoghund. It is organic frozen yogurt for dogs... and EVERYTHING in it is organic. They have two flavors: Organic Banana & Peanut Butter and Organic Blueberry & Vanilla Bean.

I pretty much love everything about this product. Let me break it down for you: It's made with real yogurt produced with organic low-fat milk; all the ingredients are certified organic by the USDA (no chemicals, no added hormones, no antibiotics); probiotics - aka "good bacteria" that aid digestion; and the product containers are recycled and recyleable.

Now the bad news... they don't have a wide distribution in South Carolina (you lucky Atlantans have plenty of locations that carry it!). But you can find the closest store here, and if you want to request that your local grocery or pet store carry it, you can do that here. I plan on pestering a couple of locations near me next week :)

September 18, 2008

Open Letter to All My Friends


Dearest Friends,

It has come to my attention that most of you have decided I'm rapidly evolving into the "Crazy Dog Lady." I'd like to take a moment to address this accusation and defend myself...

- Yes, I realize that although I vacuum almost every single day (which in and of itself is rather crazy), my visitors (and myself) regularly leave my house looking like they just rolled through a big vat of dog hair

- I also realize that I spend a small fortune every month feeding, cleaning, de-flea-ing, etc. for the five dogs currently in residence

- And yes, I actually look forward to going home to see them all...

- And I know many of you take issue with the fact that most of my extracurricular activities revolve around my dogs... training, playing, walking, and (hopefully soon-to-be) therapy visits at local hospitals, nursing homes, schools

And I've determined that perhaps my friends are right. I began to reach this conclusion last night as I realized that the highlight of my day (ok, so my week) was finally, FINALLY teaching Quincy to "down" after countless training sessions during the past month. I don't know whether it was the 15th attempt at training the command, the extra yummy Hebrew National hot dogs I was using, or the fact that I was laying in the floor with him too, but the lightbulb finally went on. And once that happened, I couldn't stopping him from doing it. Before I could even get the word out of my mouth, his belly was on the floor (which of course now is something else we've got to work on because I only want him doing it when I ask - but that's a story for another time).

So as I'm laying there in my floor showering him with kisses, I thought to myself, "Ya know, if someone came in right now, they would think I was crazy." And then I thought to myself, "And they'd probably be right."

But THEN I thought, "I'm ok with being crazy. Because I love this... I love the fact that I took this beautiful dog who was about to die and saved him. I'm glad I spend a fortune to feed and help all these dogs because they're worth it. I'm glad I've worked with Quincy for almost a month now and we've accomplished SO MUCH. He now has manners (still working on his rather exuberant greeting), he's learned sit and DOWN, he's learned to wait patiently at his food bowl in order to get his breakfast and dinner, and he's just blossoming into this really great dog.

So I conclude with this message to my friends - I embrace the CRAZY life I lead. I'm saving lives, giving them second chances, and I LOVE it... I wouldn't have it any other way.

September 16, 2008

rachel ray... for dogs?


So Oprah's attempts at world domination didn't pan out I suppose, but now Rachael Ray has thrown her hat into the ring. She has her cooking shows and her talk show, her magazine, and now she's ventured into the world of pet food and treats. I haven't really had a chance to dissect her product line (I'm super picky about what I give my dogs), but I went on her web site today to check it out.

Now... I'm not particularly fond of Rachael Ray. I find her to be a tad annoying, and I have a serious issue with her "30 Minute Meals." No Rachael... we don't all go racing around our kitchens at 90 mph with all of our ingredients perfectly organized in our refrigerator and cabinets. Seriously - there's no way an average human being could complete her meals in 30 minutes. But I'm getting off-track...

But I was actually fairly impressed with her "Pets" section of her web site. She features tons of great rescue organizations, and she's definitely earned herself some points in my book due to the fact that she owns a rescued pit bull. But the best part is that she features tons of really good recipes for your dogs.

Ok, so I only cook for dogs about once or twice a month, but when I do, I like for it to be tasty, nutritional and interesting. And most of the recipes on her web site fit the bill. I don't think I'll be buying her new dog food any time soon, but I might give one of her recipes a try this weekend... Check out her doggie Carrots & Peas Orzo below and find tons more recipes on her site.

**Please remember that every dog's nutritional needs are different, so please check with your vet to make sure this recipe is good for your pet!


Ingredients
Salt (Just a LITTLE)
1 cup orzo
1 cup frozen peas
4 carrots, sliced
Drizzle of honey (optional)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Preparation

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the orzo and cook until just before al dente, about 7 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 1 minute; drain and return the pasta and peas to the pot.

While the pasta is cooking, in a medium saucepan, cover the carrots with water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and cook until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup cooking water, then transfer the carrots to a food processor. Add the reserved cooking water and honey, if using, and process until smooth.

Stir the carrot puree into the pasta and peas. Stir in the parmigiano-reggiano. Portion out half for the dog and let cool before serving; season the people's portion with salt and pepper.

snack time

As you can imagine... it gets a little wild and crazy at my house whenever food is involved. We've developed a system that works for us (usually) at meal time and at snack time. Below is a picture of the five crazies as I'm about to hand out some biscuits... but no one gets one yet because THEY'RE NOT ALL SITTING!! (yes, that's our system... tails on the floor before you can score - see, even the new guy has caught on)


September 15, 2008

prescription paws

Logo courtesy of www.prescriptionpaws.org

Prescription Paws is a South Carolina-based Delta Society Pet Partner® affiliate that has human-dog teams that work together to promote animal-assisted therapy and activities. Each member must pass the strict screening and educational requirements to qualify for the national program.

The animal partners are the human members' personal pets. They train them to work safely and effectively with patients and they visit a variety of groups and facilities --- nursing home residents, hospice patients, children with disabilities, hospital patients and more!

My dog, Mona Mae, and I have been working over the last couple of years through obedience classes and on our own to prepare ourselves in the hopes that we'll be able to join Prescription Paws. She's such a little flirt and absolutely loves people so I knew from the very beginning she'd be great as a therapy dog.

I want to encourage anyone who's interested to please consider training to become a Pet Partner team. Now, I'm not going to sugar coat this for anyone: This is hard work! Every dog must be 100% trained, reliable and outgoing. The human member goes through hours of additional training on the program, and then the team as a whole must pass a comprehensive test. But I can assure everyone that all the time and effort is worth it. You get to join up with a great group of people, spend time with your dog and then of course there's the most important aspect - you have a chance to give back to your community in a fun and interesting way.

So if you're interested and want to know more about the program, please visit the Prescription Paws website. If you're outside the South Carolina area, please go here to find out what opportunities are available in your area.

So wish Mona Mae and I luck... we take our test this Sunday! We hope to pass on the first try but if we don't, no worries. We'll go again the next time around...

September 14, 2008

Dogs on Etsy

Having become a recent seller on the Etsy website, I've learned how important it is to have others promote your work. So I wanted to take a minute to show you all some really great artists who feature dog-centric items in their stores.

Elly Nelly is a store that features ALL KINDS of super cool wall decals. Each decal comes in a variety of colors... how cute is that dog?? I'm currently contemplating where it could go in my house.

Above is a print of a painting at Dog Art Studio. I'm pretty sure most of my readers have learned of the serious soft spot I have for pit bulls by now... so that's why I'm featuring this beautiful print here. But make sure to check out their site because they have tons of breeds to choose from in addition to their custom work.

My Bonnie creates custom pillows that feature your own special four-legged friend. You just send her a photo and she creates these awesome pillows from felt. I like them because they're definitely more stylish than those horrible photoshopped throws that everyone always has done (and you know who you are)...


I really don't think I need to say much about this adorable Halloween greeting card from Blomma. They also have other cards available online featuring adorable Labradors. Plus everything is done in silhouette... which is another weakness of mine.

Last but certainly not least... The Barefoot Mosquito features these super cute dog coasters. And I have to give a shot out to a fellow Southerner on Etsy!

September 4, 2008

cuteness


Sometimes I just marvel at how awesome my dogs are... left to right: the new kid, Quincy... anyone want him?, Mona Mae, practically perfect in every way... and Sullivan, the old man on the block and just as handsome as he ever was.

September 3, 2008

bella blu designs


I wanted to introduce everyone to these amazing onesies, tote bags and stationery by Bella Blu Designs. Some of you may have seen her appearance on the Martha Stewart Show a few months ago, but if you missed it, check it out online here.

She handcrafts all her items... and of course I love it all because almost all of it features dogs! She has a fabulous website, a cool blog, and of course, all her items can be purchased online at her etsy store.

That totebag above totally has my name on it...


September 2, 2008

saving the michael vick dogs

Photo courtesy of National Geographic

Last year, everyone was horrified and appalled when dozens of pit bulls were discovered on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vicks' property.

National Geographic's Dogtown is following the journey of four of the most challenging Vick dogs as they help rehabilitate them.

You can catch the show this Friday at 9pm on the National Geographic channel. And you check out a promo video here... along with updates on four of the dogs here.